DXF/DWG and DWF file export

Consider the following points when exporting from a Vectorworks file to DXF/DWG or DWF.


Export notes

Linked Text

Linked text in symbols export as block attributes

Symbols, Plug-ins, Layer Links, and Groups

Symbols, plug-ins, layer links, and groups export as blocks. Blocks for symbols are exported with the symbol name. Blocks for plug-ins and layer links are given a generic name such as “Group-2” unless they were named in the Data tab of the Object Info palette. By default, groups also are exported as named blocks, but there is an option to export them as anonymous blocks.

Line Weights

By default, line weights are converted to the closest DXF line weight. If the color mapping option is used, mapping information is entered during export and written to a .ctb file.

Line Types

Choose whether to export complex Vectorworks line types as anonymous blocks, which preserves the exact appearance of the line types in the drawing. This can create large file sizes. Otherwise, complex line types export as true line types, and additional graphic information is compiled into an additional shape file (.shx).

Fills, Patterns, Gradients, and Hatches

Solid fills and patterns export as DXF objects with associated solid hatch or unassociative wipeout. Wipeouts are only available in version 2000 and later. Hatches export as associative hatches to AutoCAD version 14 and higher, or as anonymous blocks to AutoCAD version 13 and lower. There is an option to export all of the fills, patterns, gradients, and hatches within a class or layer to a separate DXF layer.

Raster Images

Raster images export to the same folder as the drawing and any hatch pattern files. They export as JPEG files, with an image object in the DXF/DWG file that stores the name of the JPEG file and the insertion point. Images are only supported in AutoCAD versions 14 and higher.

Solids and NURBS Surfaces

Solids and NURBS surfaces typically export as ACIS objects. The following objects cannot be exported as ACIS objects: meshes (which export as DXF meshes), 3D polygons (which export as 3D polygons, or as triangles if filled), NURBS curves (which export as DXF splines), and walls (which export as triangulated 3D polys in 3D views, and as lines and arcs in 2D views).

Page-based symbols, world-based symbols

Both page-based and world-based symbols export as blocks with the annotative property set to “false.”

Design Layers, Sheet Layers, and Viewports

Vectorworks design layers export as DXF model space entities. If only design layers (no sheet layers) are exported, individual design layers’ scales and views are exported to model space as one scale and view. There is an option to export all of the design layers in a file as separate DXF/DWG or DWF files.

By default, each design layer viewport (Vectorworks Design Suite product required) is exported to a referenced DWG file; cropped viewports become clipped referenced files, and nested viewports become nested referenced files. This preserves the visibility overrides from the original viewport, because the visibility of the layers in the referenced file can be controlled separately from the layers in the master file. There is an option to export design layer viewports as part of the master document instead.

By default, Vectorworks sheet layers export as DXF paper space layouts, with normal viewports exported directly, and section viewports exported as blocks. Annotations become paper space objects on top of the viewports. AutoCAD requires all paper space objects to be either above or below the viewports, but not both, so any objects or annotations that appear below the viewports in the Vectorworks file will appear above the viewports in the AutoCAD file. Therefore, avoid putting anything underneath viewports in your Vectorworks files.

If sheet layers are exported, all design layers referenced from viewports on the sheet layers are exported to model space in top view without scaling, and viewports are created in paper space layouts to show the various views and scales. Sheet layers should generally look and print as expected (though without rendering modes set due to some AutoCAD issues), but the single model space may have many overlapping objects and may not be as usable. There is an option to export the selected sheet layers as separate DXF/DWG files. In addition, there is an option to export sheet layer viewports as 2D graphics to model space (each layer as a separate file).

Since AutoCAD has only one model space, and it does not have hybrid 2D/3D objects, it is sometimes necessary for the Vectorworks program to export the design layers as one or more blocks with special DXF layer names to control the block visibility. For example, a design layer called “Foundation” might export as blocks named “Foundation (2D)” and “Foundation (3D),” with associated DXF layers named “_Foundation (2D)” and “_Foundation (3D).” The blocks will be inserted in model space and assigned to those DXF layers. Viewports that should hide either the 2D or 3D objects will freeze or thaw the appropriate DXF layer.

When you export sheet layers, the Vectorworks program optimizes the translation to preserve the look of the sheets, at the cost of possibly adding some complexity and decreasing the ease of editing items in model space. To minimize the complexity, export sheet layers with unrelated design layers as separate files, or limit the drawing to one Vectorworks design layer.

Items that cannot export to DXF/DWG or DWF

Preparing to export

DXF/DWG and DWF export procedure

DXF/DWG and DWF export options

DXF/DWG and DWF file formats


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